Today, the President is forwarding the budget request for Fiscal Year 2010 to the Congress including a request for $745.5 million dollars for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an increase of 3.9% from FY 2009 levels. The request reflects the continued critical role of BBG broadcasts in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. The FY 2010 budget supports expanded local and regional coverage on the Voice of America?s (VOA) Radio Deewa programs to Afghanistan and Pakistan and the establishment of a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian language Internet Web site for Central Asia. The request also supports the continued expansion of digital audio and video capability and programming for VOA, RFE/RL, and Radio Free Asia (RFA), and establishment of a television and radio equipment replacement program for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). The proposed budget also continues funding for key agency initiatives to critical audiences, including:
* 24-hour streams for VOA Persian TV and RFE/RL Radio Farda to Iran;
* Al Youm, the daily three-hour Alhurra Televisin program broadcast live from the Middle East;
* Radio Deewa, the VOA Pashto program to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region;
* VOA Urdu radio and television broadcasts to Pakistan;
* VOA and RFE/RL Dari and Pashto programming to Afghanistan;
* VOA Somali to Somalia;
* A 10-hour coordinated RFA and VOA stream to North Korea; and
* A 30-minute, 5 day a week, VOA Spanish television program to Venezuela.
The FY 2010 budget environment is one in which critical policy priorities must be balanced with budget resources. The FY 2010 budget request includes several program adjustments , including the closure of the VOA Croatian, Greek, and Hindi services, reallocation of program funding for radio rebroadcasts of VOA Persian News Network television programming and one hour daily of original VOA Persian radio. VOA regional radio and Internet programs in English will serve audiences in India and RFE/RL Radio Farda and VOA Persian TV will continue to reach audiences in Iran. The request also proposes a transition of TV Marti?s two 30-minute newscasts to news updates on the half-hour, conversion of Radio Marti to a 24/7 news and information format, closure of the VOA Paris finance office, and the consolidation of the West and East Africa regional marketing offices. The Broadcasting Board of Governors looks forward to working with the Congress toward enactment of the proposed funding levels and program proposals. Further detail on the requested BBG budget is available here. The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). BBG broadcasts reach over 175 million people worldwide on a weekly basis.
(BBG Press Release)